Alan Wald thought it was odd for the Pacifica Police Department to announce a DUI sobriety checkpoint July 26 at an undisclosed location. But Alan looked into it and found this in the law books:
"It seemed contradictory to me that police would announce the checkpoint but conceal the location, so I did a little homework. A California Supreme Court decision in 1987 (Ingersoll vs. Palmer) requires that 'police conducting a lawful sobriety checkpoint must provide advance notice of the roadblock to the public, although they are not required to disclose its specific location. Publicity both reduces the intrusiveness of the stop and increases the deterrent effect of the roadblock...'
But the most interesting part of the court's ruling for police conducting legal DUI checkpoints is this: 'Motorists who seek to avoid a roadblock may not be stopped and detained merely because they attempted to avoid the roadblock.' In other words, you are allowed to make a legal U-turn when you're, say, 50 feet away from entering a DUI checkpoint. Try it and see."
(For the record, we do not recommend doing U-turns on Highway 1. You could get a ticket for crossing the double yellow line.)
We apologize for our July 23 post about a bomb blast on Monterey Road in Pacifica (post deleted). This incident actually occurred 15 years ago. But in an unrelated incident, an unexploded bomb was found July 22, 2013 on nearby Del Mar Avenue (click link below for police press release). Sorry for any confusion. Get Details Here
"Sharp Park Rd/Skyline Blvd., Pacifica. On sharp park from skyline blvd all the street lamps are flashing - rp believes if it continues it could cause someone to have a stroke. Disposition: Referred To Other Agency." (Pacifica Police report, July 7)
I've seen several 4th of July celebrations on Linda Mar Beach, so I was interested to see how the new policy restricting legal fireworks to specific areas on the beach worked this year. In a word: FAIL.
As can be seen in my pictures above, lots of people were lighting fireworks far outside the specified area, crowded around the mouth of San Pedro Creek. There was no evidence of police presence or any attempt to prevent fireworks being used outside the defined area. In one picture, you can see a couple of fires on the beach. Nothing was done was about this.
Even worse, in previous years, most of the illegal fireworks could be seen going up in the back of Linda Mar Valley or on Pedro Point. This year, lots of illegal fireworks were going up from the beach, right next to the specified area for legal fireworks and sometimes from inside the area. There are a couple of pictures of aerial fireworks going up from the center of Linda Mar Beach. I didn't see anybody arrested or even stopped by the police.
I'll be interested to see the police report for this year's 4th of July. From my perspective, this year's new policy actually made the problem worse.
Since July 1, Linda Mar Shopping Center has had security guards from Universal Protection Service of San Francisco walking the property, handing out flyers to merchants saying that the guards "are available 24 hours a day to investigate suspicious activity, assist in dealing with difficult customers or transients, or any other security related concerns." Their phone number is 650-520-6060. Alan Wald says, "I spoke to the guards. They say they were specifically told to watch for people who park in the lot and then go to the beach."
After a months-long investigation, South San Francisco police have shut down illegal gambling establishments on the 2200 block of Gellert Boulevard and the first block of South Linden Avenue, and arrested the operator, Frederick Zupancic, 53, of Pacifica.
Search warrants were served June 26 and police searched four different sites, including homes in Alameda and Pacifica, according to police. Police say they seized $40,000 in cash, multiple gambling devices, and documentation related to the illegal gambling operation.
Pacifica Police say the attempted kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl in Sharp Park was a false report. Police say the girl made it all up, trying to cover up some misbehavior of her own, but they did not disclose any details.
"A 69-year-old in great health, Sachs-Williams died in a fluke accident while traveling with her husband on vacation in Costa Rica. On a walk up some steps, she tripped on a tree root and fell down into a pool of stagnant water. She was released from the hospital, but her condition continued to worsen. It was later revealed that she contracted a bacterial infection in the water. Within a day, she was taken to another hospital and her body was shutting down. Hearing the news, her daughter flew out to Costa Rica to see her mother one last time before she died."
We had the bizarre experience of being blitzed by a drone on Saturday afternoon (May 18) while we sat on the deck at Taco Bell, Linda Mar Beach. We were there between 3 and 4:30 p.m. and were really surprised, especially when its "eye" kept swiveling in the direction of everyone on the deck (perhaps because a pretty young blonde woman kept on giving it a middle-finger salute). It seemed too large (about the size of a seagull with its wings outspread) and too expensive to be a hobbyist's, but someone was having fun. It wasn't us.
A friend says he got a speeding ticket
on Fassler Avenue from a Burlingame motorcycle cop. This traffic stop was part
of the countywide Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP), a mutual-aid
effort to target speeders, red-light runners, distracted or reckless drivers,
and other traffic offenders. In STEP, officers from other communities help our local
law enforcement keep our streets safer. Given the way some people in
this town drive, we have to say we are happy to get outside help for
our traffic cops. Pacifica Police Chief Jim Tasa tells us: “The mission of the program is to increase traffic safety on the
Peninsula in problem areas and intersections through saturated enforcement
utilizing the combined resources of all agencies participating in the program. Participating officers are detailed to problem locations in San
Mateo County based on collision data, community complaints and expert law
enforcement opinion. The expectation is that this collaborative monthly program
will yield cities immediate and tangible solutions to traffic issues and make
San Mateo County safer for motorists and pedestrians.”
A recent San Mateo County human services
agency survey reports Pacifica has 150 homeless people, but I suspect the
number is probably higher than that due to non-responders and others who fall
through the statistical cracks.
Pacifica Police likely turn a blind eye
to well-behaved regulars who sleep/live in their vehicles at various points
around town, including Esplanade and Monterey, but law officers might roust
anyone who stays in one place too long or is a little too obvious about it.
Shopping center has posted signs warning "homeless" RV drivers not to
park there. I am pretty sure these “campers” are not tourists. Those visitors
rent spaces at the Palmetto RV/trailer park.
Linda Mar Shopping Center is frequented by a number of
homeless people who mostly shelter out in the wetlands behind the center.
Keep in mind that many factors can cause and
exacerbate homelessness: unemployment, divorce, recession, physical and mental
health issues, and substance abuse. Homelessness can hit middle-class and
working-class people whose lives fall apart due to any of the aforementioned
causes; our socioeconomic system’s frayed safety net doesn't catch them as they
Less fortunate Pacificans
among us have agencies like the Pacifica Resource Center, which
uses donated food and other items and services to supplement whatever meager
aid the poor receive from the county, state, and federal government.
next time you walk by a homeless person on the streets of
Pacifica, give him or her something good to eat (not cash), then write a check
to Pacifica Resource Center, 1809 Palmetto Avenue.